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  1. #1
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    Cambodia thoughts

    I was working out for a couple of hours today and then took quite a long bike ride, it helps clear the head ( the bloody wind today, nearly blew it off) I was thinking of The Orient and some of the experiences I had been both lucky enough and unlucky enough to come across. Being unlucky at times can have a real hell of a show-down. I'd been to a Thai wedding out in the sticks, my wife was with me, it was quite an experience as well. The village was made of teak houses, thick round teak well constructed but old (all faded of course) all the beautiful cooking ware quite fascinated me. There were so many parts to the wedding, it was interesting and educational, the bride was stunningly beautiful.

    Anyhow, most of you will no doubt have had the experiences and it wasn't really what I was going to tell you about, I got to thinking about Cambodia and Pol Pot. I know it has little or nothing to do with Mae Sot, but I didn't feel of a mind to start another thread, so bear with me.

    Before I get onto that though, we left the wedding in the late afternoon, no real idea where we were and we needed to reach some form of civilisation and find a hotel. We had slept in the vehicle the previous night, the village was full and I mean full, everybody had come for the wedding.

    As it was, the invite to the wedding included a couple of Thai passengers who gave us the directions, leaving, we were on our Jack Todd's . I was roughly of a mind as to the direction I needed to go, but I had been drinking quite heavily for a couple of days, non-stop so to speak, and a few joints of that Thai bush was also washing itself out in my veins. The sun was good to get a rough idea of the direction I needed to take, the roads were poor, narrow dusty dirt tracks and it was hot.


    When you find yourself in those sort of circumstances, and the wifes (she's a great navigator) is telling you your going the wrong way and all that, well you get screwed up to put it mildly. Darkness was coming down on us and we had drunk what bit of water we had taken along, we had a few fags between us, some packets of Golden Virginia (duty free from the white van guy,} but no papers left! You cock things up at times don't you. Anyhow I saw a building with a couple of trucks outside those big Isuzu's with no doors on, they were empty. I stopped the vehicle and walked past the trucks towards a small side door on the building. As I pulled it open and shouted 'Hello' fuck me there were six of them sat on the floor round a bloody old oil lamp and some candles playing cards and two of them were injecting up with a shared needle, the Thai booze bottles, Mekhong and Samsong were all around them, plastic cups and coke bottles. The gun just appeared and the bastard fired off like I was rolling over and then kneeling up, with my fucking hands in the air like the French when the Germans ran into their backyard. All of a sudden they are shouting, there was in fact only one bang and then a lot of clicking. I thought of getting a kick in and a clout or two , but I was well outnumbered and I don't even pretend to be either that bloody good or daft!. Settle, settle I'm saying and playing my hands down like easy lads be gentle gentle boys. They were gibbering off and for whatever reason we all started laughing. Phew! I backed off and back to the car, the wife is outside the car with a f****** rock in her hand, what a girl!. We drove in the dark, slow and steady for a good hour or more before we came to a decent road, from there it was a two hour drive to Chiang Mai, I booked a top class suite at the Porn Ping. It was probably the best hotel in Chiang Mai in those days, about 87-88 from memory. room 1944, if you get a chance and you're in Chiang Mai ask the guy in reception to let you view it. Some edge with that suite I can tell you. Anyhow, back to the bike ride, I do get carried away. I've been in Cambodia a few times, some times by plane others by any route I could get in there. I studied up a great deal on the Pol Pot scenario etc. Made a few notes, read a great deal and put a bit of a write up together, I'll let you read some of it.


    On November 9th 1953 Cambodia gained independence from the French.

    In 1955 King Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated as king and became active
    politically as Head of State.

    The ordinary Cambodians continued to revere him as The Father of The Nation, The god king. He took the title of Prince Sihanouk. He turned a blind eye to the Viet Cong soldiers establishing themselves sanctuaries in his country or indeed he may well have been under threat or pressure from the Vietnamese or China.

    President Nixon acting on a information and policies issued by his security adviser HENRY KISSINGER made a decision to bomb Cambodia, a neutral country and certainly not at war with America. Five hundred and forty thousand tons of bombs were dropped on Cambodia by American planes. This was double the amount dropped on Japan during the whole of World War Two. These bombardments actually took the names of - 'Breakfast - Lunch- Snack- Dinner - Dessert and Supper! The B52's could fly at heights and of an altitude so high they could not even be bloody seen, neither could they distinguish between Viet Cong or innocent, defenceless, men, women, children of a third world country living in flimsy wooden huts, mainly built on stilts.


    As these murderous American bombs rained down on Cambodia the revolutionaries in Cambodia grew in strength. This previous ragamuffin band of also rans was fast becoming a powerful insurgency, Cambodia’s poor and this was the majority of the countries population was looking for a Saviour to extract them from warfare, poverty, starvation and end this ,meagre existence. The support commenced in small villages and spread, it spread to towns, to cities and eventually Phnom Penh itself.

    The world would soon come to know the name Prince Sihanouk had derisively bestowed upon these ragamuffins; The Khmers Rouges or Red Cambodians and time would show Pol Pot as their leader..

    The young men who suddenly appeared on the streets of the capital did what one might well associate with conquering heroes. Driving about in jeeps with an unknown flag, a white cross on a blue and red field waved to the cheers of the crowds as they passed by. They took control of the key instillations, fraternised with government soldiers and police, who threw away their weapons and waved white flags to show their position of surrender.

    I suppose the people at that stage felt happy, no more civil war, no rockets raining down on them or their homes, an end to conscription, the finalisation of a rotten and deeply hated regime. They took control of the radio station, made appeals for calm, requested all government troops lay down their arms. They Broadcast that negotiations were peacefully taking place with representatives of the 'other side' to ensure a smooth take over by the Khmer Rouges. As things settled a harsh statement was broadcast:-

    "We are not here to negotiate, we are entering the capital by force of arms."

    The Charade was over.

    I'll do a lot more on this.





    All the women take their blouses off
    And the men all dance on the polka dots
    It's closing time !

  2. #2
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    Existing government officials of the old regime in Phnom Penh considered they would be required by the Khmers Rouges, so much so they declined to leave. After all, these were fellow Cambodians, not a real enemy, patriots first, our friends not really communists!

    Lon Non government intelligence one of the best informed men in the country considered it appropriate to stay on. The Prime Minister Long Boret declined to leave likewise his predecessor Hung Thun Hak who had known Pol Pot in his student days, when he was called Saloth Sar, they had no idea of what was to come. A carnival attitude was held by the Capital, then the main force arrived:-


    These soldiers were covered in filthy grime, all wearing black pyjama uniforms with coloured headbands or peaked caps of the Mao type.
    These were from the dirt poor villages, illiterate, destitute peasants, never educated, unaware of mechanical devices of any kind, they had never seen money, up to becoming part of Pol Pot’s army they had never seen a bicycle, let alone a car. The Khmers Rouges had built their strongholds around and from these people, they were to become ‘The Primal Gene-Pool' from which the revolution would be formed. The poorest of the poor the town dwellers would see how primitive this conquering force was. They thought toilets were city peoples wells and drank from them, they could not understand eating or drinking from a bottle or a can. They drank cans of oil, ate toothpaste. Many were no more than twelve or thirteen years of age, only a little taller than the AK47’s they toted. They took cars and motorcycles, having no idea how to drive them, they crashed into buildings, walls, trees, and then looked for another.


    They cut of the tyres to make sandals from the rubber treads. They had a fascination for biro’s with click tops, they had four or five wristwatches on each arm, although they had no idea how to tell the time. They smashed up televisions, and furnishings. They had been conditioned by the elite of Pol Pot to hate the city dwellers, they held their bourgeois life style in contempt.

    Women and children were raped, abused in countless fashions and manners, murdered, men too.

    They had a learned hatred for anything occidental, especially American. In Battambang they tore apart two T28 bombers with their bare hands.


    A Phnom Penh Doctor would later write:- “There was something excessive about their anger, something has happened to these people during their years in the jungle. They have been transformed”


    The next phase began:-

    Soldiers (if you could refer to them as soldiers) went from house to house telling the city dwellers they had to leave for a few days, on the pretext that the American bombers were coming to bomb Phnom Penh. Obviously being told to evacuate, thinking they would be returning after the 'air raid' meant they would not be too serious about the removal of too many possessions from their homes. Considering a population of two and a half million in Phnom Penh some one million, nine hundred thousand were from the poor slum areas their possessions were virtually zilch. The authentic city dwellers numbering some six hundred thousand did not wish to leave behind everything they had or possessed, we all hold certain things very dear to us.

    It was a bloody mess, troops from four different zones of The Khmers Rouges met up in Phnom Penh all giving contradictory orders and receiving them. Buildings and homes were being re-looted, the rapes escalated with the newly arriving 'soldiers', more abuse, more rape, more murder, pillaging, you name it, they did it, it all happened.

    The large doors of The Russian Embassy were blown away with a B-40 rocket. Diplomats were driven out at gunpoint,. People were fleeing in sheer terror at what they witnessed and heard of, within minutes a seething mass of refugees urged on by bullets from these child soldiers firing in all directions were heading out of the Capital.

    April is the hottest month in Cambodia, and it is hot, I know this personally.

    One of the refugees would later write;--

    Sick people were left dying by their own families at the roadside. Others simply killed by soldiers because they could not walk any further. Children who had lost their parents cried and screamed out in sheer terror and fear, parents who had lost their children in this mad lunatic of an exodus were crying and pleading for help, for sanity, for anything! Women were giving birth on the roads, in the field's, besides the dead.

    Patients were evicted from hospitals. Thousands of sick and wounded were abandoned in the city. The strong pulled or dragged themselves along, families pushed relations in wheeled beds, plasma and IV bottles besides them. One cripple with neither hands or feet was slithering along the road like a severed worm. One man, his foot dangling at the end of a leg, attached by nothing but skin, hopped along the road.

    When Phnom Penh fell there were 20,000 patients evicted from hospitals.

    I spent a few days in The Himawari, Phnom Penh earlier this year. We had quite a (no a bloody nice )suite there for four nights. I had been doing some writing and getting some inofrmation first hand, from an odd survivor of this little lot, and their descendants. It's hard to believe what went on there. I walked through the town with two people who could speak reasonable English and had witnessed a lot of this. They do not like to talk about it, and I can understand that.


    They had no chance at all.

    I'll finish this off later.

  3. #3
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    Altogether some 20,000 people lost their lives during the evacuation of Phnom Penh. An alarming figure indeed, but as a comparison it is noted that some 100,000 people died in revenge killings, murders and balancing up grievances in France purely during the German retreat of 1945!

    In Phnom Penh the different army groups of Pol Pot’s forces being totally unaware of who was who, clashed and killed one another quite randomly in the streets of the city, it took a few days for the levels of insanity to settle down. The National Bank was blown up with dynamite, this was not an act allocated to Pol Pot’s forces, the Khmer Rouge leaders had every intention of establishing a monetary system of it’s own. In the markets the stall holders were instructed to cut the costs of their goods by as much as 100% to the delight of the population but obvious despair of the mainly Chinese stallholders. NCOs’ from the original government army were supposedly taken to Siem Reap for new government training and were loaded onto trucks in their hundreds, twenty miles outside of Phnom Penh they were instructed to get off the trucks. Their arms were bound and they were badly abused before being bludgeoned to death.
    Prince Sihanouk who had fled to Beijing prior to the invasion of the capital was due to return having agreed to accept The Khmer Rouge as the new government. Several highly ranked officers from his army were told to report wearing full dress uniform to welcome him back at the airport. Several prominent wealthy businessmen were instructed to join them. The convoy of vehicles was stopped near to Mount Thippadey, they were all killed by K.R. executioners waiting in ditches by the roadside. Similar massacres occurred throughout the North West, in general any official of any town was certain to be killed, his family were not spared the brutality of rape, torture, humiliation, and eventual death. Orders had been given to not to waste any bullets on those poor wretches, they were beaten to death with farming implements, rifle butts, rocks, kicking, the lucky, if there is such a thing or word for those poor victims, may have had their throats cut. Children were swung by their ankles into trees, smashing their heads in.

    I have actually seen some of the graves of the killing fields, the thousands of skulls which are on show as a constant reminder to the world of what this regime committed against it's own people. Even now as you walk through those fields (I was there earlier this year) it is possible to see many human bones barely covered by the earth, among the dirt and foliage.

    Some left Phnom Penh in cars, with consumer goods loaded inside and on the roofs, how they intended using fridges, fans, TV's in the jungle is antibody's guess, I reckon they had the right to take whatever they could though. When orders were given for private cars and trucks or any vehicle to be abandoned the contents ended up being strewn all over the roadside. A grand piano was sighted some years later, marooned in the middle of a rice field, lacquer peeling! For many it became too much, one witness later wrote:-

    A shiny new Peugeot was being driven down the river bank, it went into the water with a splash and floated forward, until the river turned it round and it floated slowly backwards down-stream.

    There were people inside. A man in the drivers seat, a woman besides him and children looking out of the rear windows their hands pressed against the glass. All the doors and windows remained shut.

    Nobody got out!

    We all stared as the car settled lower and the waters went over the roof.

    A wealthy family committing suicide.

    Approximately one thousand Cambodians living in France at the time of this ‘revolution’ exiles from the Sihanouk government, considered they should return to Cambodia and offer their personal worth for the new order.
    The Khmer Rouge issued a statement via their Foreign Minister Leng Sary, and via his official at the Parisian Cambodian Embassy, that all interested Cambodians with children could return, but they must pledge to work as farmers. The manner of application was carried out with a strangeness by The Khmers Rouges, a peculiar manner indeed. Application forms had to be completed and approved by the Foreign Office etc... Little did they know.


    The plane loads of returnees on the only flight schedule available, Paris Beijing to Cambodia (Pochentong Airport)were greeted at the airport by youthful Khmer men and women. The returnees who had had to wait in Beijing for the next available flight were clapping with happiness at returning to their homeland. Once inside they were divested of all money, clothing, presents and luggage in general. Women were raped, abused and some killed along with many of the men. They were split into various groups. Each group would have to live and work together, they were totally forbidden to communicate or inter-react with any Khmers Rouges or Khmers. All of them were treated like aliens. It was suspected by the Khmers Rouges that traitors would be amongst the numbers. By the end of the Khmers Rouges control of the country only two hundred remained alive. The other 80% had been murdered by the Khmers Rouges.

    I have often thought of the plight of these poor people having been in a civilised country like France for many years and returning to this and the thoughts of it being a better place to live!

    Pol Pot implemented an eight point programme throughout the land:-
    1. Evacuate all of the people from all of the towns.

    2. Abolish all markets.
    3. Abolish the old currency (To be replaced with the revolution’s currency)
    4. Defrock all Buddhist Monks and put them to work growing rice.
    5. Execute all leaders of Lon Nol regime beginning with the top leaders.
    6. Establish high level co-operatives throughout the country.
    7. Expel the entire Vietnamese minority population.
    8. Dispatch troops to all borders, especially the border with Vietnam.

    I have it on record that Pol Pot loved mankind. It was individual man that he could not stand. He claims to have taken up arms on behalf of the suffering masses, the victims of superior war machines.
    He destroyed those who irked him;

    The educated

    The wealthy

    Foreigners

    Foreigner admirers.

    City dwellers.

    The challengers

    The religious.

    His aim was to return the country to year zero.


    I visited the prison museum in Phnom Penh.

    All prisoners were photographed, they were all tortured and a so called biography of their hitherto existence was recorded. Prisoners were all stripped down to their basic underclothes and shackled to iron bars. All prisoners were woken at 4.30 every morning, they were instructed to drop down their under clothes to the ankles. They then had the opportunity to defecate and or urinate into small buckets. Those who failed to follow orders received between twenty and forty strokes from a whip.

    On blackboards in each cell was the following.

    You must answer all questions.

    Do not try to hide facts, you are prohibited to contest.

    Do not be a fool, for you are a person who has dared to thwart the revolution.

    Answer all questions immediately, do not waste time trying to reflect.

    Do not tell me about your immoralities or the revolution.

    Whilst receiving lashes or electric shocks you must not cry out.

    Do nothing, sit still until told to do something.

    Do not make pretexts about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your traitorous jaw.

    Failure to follow the above rules will earn you many lashes of electric wire.

    If you show any disobedience you will receive either ten lashes or five shocks of electric charge.

    The Tuol Sleng is now a genocide museum.

    On one day alone ;- May 17th 1978

    FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY TWO DEATH WARRANTS WERE ISSUED

    I'll get back to Mae Sot next time I write.


    Last edited by Mathos; 02-12-2007 at 04:39 AM.

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    Words come hard. I have read similar before, being the cause and effect scenario in Cambodia.

    Every city dweller, educated person, town official, was a hated western sympathiser to them- they who had had their villages bombed, their crops and animals destroyed, their relatives, by an unseen enemy who they had never even fought. America. The West. Thus the savagery was unleashed.

    Forgive an Issue's Mod, but why did America bomb Cambodia so hard, and ruthlessly? They weren't fighting, they were just letting people with guns walk through. What choice did they have?
    probes Aliens

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    I don't honestly think America or anybody else could come up with any justifiable reason for unleashing the attacks like they did.

    Kissinger has a lot of sin on his back, that is for sure.


    I am presently checking out a report that at least one pilot was 'court martialled' for refusing to drop any more bombs on Cambodia when he discovered exactly what he was doing to innocent, men, women and children.

    War is a bloody awful part of our existence, we have always had it and it's probably got to run a course of further continuance for several thousand years yet! Assuming we don't blow one another completely off the planet or leave a few surviving in stone-age conditions before-hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathos
    War is a bloody awful part of our existence, we have always had it and it's probably got to run a course of further continuance for several thousand years yet! Assuming we don't blow one another completely off the planet or leave a few surviving in stone-age conditions before-hand.
    Old Plato agrees. "Only the dead have seen the end of the war."

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post

    Forgive an Issue's Mod, but why did America bomb Cambodia so hard, and ruthlessly? They weren't fighting, they were just letting people with guns walk through. What choice did they have?
    That was exactly the reason. The VC were using Cambodia as another path through which to supply their army; the US used carpet bombing to try to stop this...not successfully.

    The trouble with being a superpower is that you cannot take any dissent

    strange

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    If you give it a little thought and wander back to the early days on the plains and prairies of America, it's plain to see that the origins of the country were based on total control.

    The white man {The majority of us reading these pages are probably in that category} was similar to a gigantic Tsunami careering across the plains, mountains, valley's deserts, woods and anything that stood in it's way.

    Nothing at all was going to be spared the wrath of this powerful and 'righteous force'

    Philip Sheridan {a hero} is well credited by Ralph Andrist with the original remark
    about a 'Good Indian'

    It was at Fort Cobb, {Indian Territory} a Comanche named Turtle Dove introduced himself to General Sheridan with the humble self attribution that he really was a 'Good Indian'

    "The only Good Indians I know" Sheridan retorted, "Are dead!."

    Americans have and always will pride themselves on being able to achieve anything to which they dedicate themselves, and the extension of 'White Rule' across the length of the continent represented such a communal dedication.

    Nothing was going to be a barrier to them, be it men, women, children, ponies, bison, grass or the very land itself would be permitted to check the Tsunami like operation. If any of the clean up operations appeared bloody it was simply classed as part of the inevitable hardship of making the continent. The whites proved far more apt in being able to bear the difficulties than the Indians.

    The whites showed far more ingenuity in their killing and mutilating than the Indians who they incidentally classified as 'savages'

    As an example no Indian would have even thought of the actions of of certain white residents in Montana, who cut the heads off murdered Indians, pickled the ears in whiskey, boiled the skin from the skulls and then inscribed the bleached bones with witticisms as 'I am on the reservation, at last'

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    It's no secret that during the American Civil War both sides offered bounty for American Scalps, Confederate strategy was even more brutal and savage than that of their adversaries. Written instruction to the Commander of The Arizona Guards in 1862 {145 years ago and only a few years prior to the development of the motor car}, the Confederate Governor John R Naylor said:-

    I learn from Lieutenant J J Jackson that Indians have been in your post for the purpose of making a treaty. The Congress of The Confederate States has passed a law declaring extermination of all hostile Indians.

    You will therefore use all means to persuade the Apaches or any tribe to come in for the purpose of making peace, and when you get them together, kill all the men and women, take the children prisoners and sell them to defray the expenses of killing the Indians. Leave nothing undone and have a sufficient number of men around to ensure no Indian escapes.


    A real push for Indian reservations was made and fuelled by the invention of the Colt revolver. The Iron Horse was criss crossing across the land from East to West at colossal speed. People were turning up in the boat load, new immigrants from Europe and especially Ireland {potato famine} the Indian could not be allowed to be a nuisance or be sat on land required by the white Tsunami. The 300 reservations that still exist today stand in evidence of the dismal outlook faced by these people. The Reservations are located in remote deserts and other regions of the southwest and western United States where life is hard, harsh, and virtually impossible, even under the best of circumstances.

    There was total mayhem with the land, land parcelled out to settlers was reclaimed as a need for reservations, talk of gold strikes on land used as reservations and the settlers moved in, in their droves, killing, slaughtering and mutilating the Indians with total impunity.

    The white Tsunami engulfed the ancestral home lands, hunting grounds and sacred places of the Native Americans and these people who survived with their lives were forced out to leave their beloved homelands.

    Consequently, there is no difficulty in dropping forty thousand five hundred tons of bombs by planes on a country you are not even at war with!


    Especially when they do not have the means to hit back.

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    It has been said that the USA used Cambodia as a testing ground for the development of bombs.

    Recording tape units were placed into the bomb housings to record their destructive capabilities.

    Donald Dawson, was the pilot who was eventually court martialled for his refusal to go on any further raids involving dropping bombs on the civilian population of Cambodia.


    Many a time I give thought to how America was obsessed with Communism, the fear of Communism and their involvement with bringing the spreading communism to a full stop. I wonder strongly if the untimely death of Jack Kennedy thrust too much power into the wrong hands. Kissinger, L B Johnson and Nixon. I would like to think Kennedy would have been more visual in his position and would not have allowed the Americans to become involved in such lunacy as they did.

    We will never know of course.

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    Cambodia thoughts

    I booked two return flights, Bangkok to Phnom Penh and the return Siem Reap to Chiang Mai via BKK, it's the only way to do it apparently. This was just over a year back about March 2007. The return tickets with Thai Airways cost about £120..00 each which wasn't too bad a price to pay at all.

    It had been many years since we had been to Cambodia.

    Last time we were there it was extremely dangerous, we were divested of a great deal of personal possessions too by the army and security forces in general. The country was in a terrible state.

    There were some up sides to it, marijuana on every other market stall, even in big bowls in most of the old hotels which were up and running, (more like home-stays actually), I seem to recall we stayed in Le Royal in those days.

    There wasn't much doing at the time either, it was pretty grim.

    There was a fad going round the capital for robbery with violence and a lot of funny mushrooms being served up which didn't help in assessing the situation in the true light of day.

    It's OK experimenting a little on the streets and avenues of life. Providing the responsibilities are covered in a safe and sensible manner, and the location is safe and manageable.

    Phnom Penh in those days was anything but that and as you get older, there is a tendency to leave that kind of action in the windows of your mind, nicely filed but memorable and some of your escapades can bring a smile to your face.

    Thats why I like to see real old folk sat in the rocking chair with a silly grin on their faces.. I'd not object to being like that if I was ninety plus and could remember some of the things I have done.. It would make us both have silly smiles on our faces.

    Strange, on the flight over we were on a three bank seat and the guy next too me was called Tith Peou, a Cambodian who happened to be the manager for 'Ground Handling' at Phnom Penh International Airport.

    It made me feel glad I had picked Thai to fly to Cambodia and not any of the Cambodian airlines, if there were any doing the route.

    Anyhow, he suggested we take a room at The Himawari Hotel which he assured us was good value and that if we showed his card and gave his name we would get a decent deal. No doubt he would call round for his commission at a later date too.

    We swapped business cards accordingly.

    The Himawari was a really good hotel too. Brilliantly situated right on the banks of The Mekong and we were well looked after with a large suite and priced up at some Baht 3500 per night. Breakfast included.

    It was very open in all of its dealings too and there was a really nice guy representing Blackwater in the bar on the first evening who appeared to be offering employment to some very likely looking lads indeed.

    We were in Phnom Penh for a few nights and I had a decent conversation with him on our third night there.

    He knew of a superb shooting range out there and we fired up a few rounds one afternoon for a bit of fun, so to speak.

    The photograph below shows Phnom Penh from one of our rooms at The Himawari.








    The rooms at the Hotel were brilliant, very spacious and immaculate. Large entrance, reasonable sized living room with a three piece suite, table etc. Large bedroom, dressing room, decent sized bathroom with bath and shower, topped off with a large fully fitted kitchen. The kitchen wasn't going to be any use to us as the points of sale for food in town at the time were rather basic to put it mildly.




    There was air conditioning and fans on the ceiling.



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    This shot was taken from the other side of the apartment.

    Looking to the right of the picture you can see the Tuk Tuk type vehicles parked up waiting for customers. To the rear of them and across the secondary roads were some new shops. The busiest of them was a form of stationary shop.

    I wanted to do some travelling around town and the local countryside and walked across to the Tuk Tuk drivers.

    One of them in particular spoke reasonable English, he seemed an amicable sort of young lad and certainly appeared to know the area really well with regard to what I wanted to see.

    He proved to be a good choice overall.








    His name (nick-name) was Joe and we got along well. Had some good days out with him and also went to a few good bars etc of the night-time.



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    We took in quite a bit of sight seeing with Joe, the local markets which are always interesting and the improvement in goodies for sale in all aspects was much improved since our last visit.





    Haircuts in the street and looking busy has to be a good sign for the economy.






    These guys looked to be well involved too.






    The streets are quite busy in general.

    The architecture is very interesting as well, you can see the 'French Connection'


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    This building on the main street could hold it's own and more besides anywhere on earth.






    There are still signs of poverty around Phnom Penh, it isn't going to disappear overnight, but there is no longer that feeling of total despondency attached to the people the environment and the villages.






    The whole scene is much better to look at than Laos for instance.






    Joe was telling me that the levels of violence for instance had dropped quite significantly on the streets of an evening.

    We went out every night we were there, a few bars, a night club and generally walking about, there were no problems or signs of being.

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    When I first started the thread I did a write up on Cambodia in general, it makes it rather awkward to keep looking back for the same so I am going to re-establish the same here.

    I have several photographs that I will be entering from The Killing Fields over the next day or two, the history of events is quite crucial to the story and photographs in general.


    The young men who suddenly appeared on the streets of the capital did what one might well associate with conquering heroes. Driving about in jeeps with an unknown flag, a white cross on a blue and red field waved to the cheers of the crowds as they passed by. They took control of the key instillations, On November 9th 1953 Cambodia gained independence from the French.
    In 1955 King Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated as king and became active
    politically as Head of State.

    The ordinary Cambodians continued to revere him as The Father of The Nation, The god king. He took the title of Prince Sihanouk. He turned a blind eye to the Viet Cong soldiers establishing themselves sanctuaries in his country or indeed he may well have been under threat or pressure from the Vietnamese or China.

    President Nixon acting on policies issued by his security adviser Henry Kissinger made a decision to bomb Cambodia, a neutral country, and certainly not at war with America. Five hundred and forty thousand tons of bombs were dropped on Cambodia by American planes. This was double the amount dropped on Japan during the whole of World War Two. These bombardments took the names:-’Breakfast-Lunch-Snack-Dinner-Dessert-and Supper.’ The B52’s were able to fly at high altitude and could not be seen, neither could they distinguish between Viet Cong or innocent, defenceless, men, women and children of a third world country living in wooden flimsy stilted huts.

    As these murderous American bombs rained down on Cambodia the revolutionaries in Cambodia grew in strength. This previous ragamuffin band of also ran’s was fast becoming a powerful insurgency, Cambodia’s poor and this was the majority of the countries population was looking for a saviour to extract them from warfare, poverty, starvation and end this ,meagre existence. The support commenced in small villages and spread, it spread to towns, to cities and eventually Phnom Penh itself.

    The world would soon come to know the name Prince Sihanouk had derisively bestowed upon these ragamuffins; The Khmers Rouges or Red Cambodians and time would show Pol Pot as their leader.

    fraternised with government soldiers and police, who threw away their weapons and waved white flags to show their positions of surrender. The people were happy, no more civil war, no rockets raining down on their homes, no conscription, the end of a rotten and deeply hated regime. They took control of the radio station, made appeals for calm, requested all government troops to lay down their arms. Broadcast that negotiations were peacefully taking place with representatives of the ‘other side’ to ensure a smooth take over by The Khmers Rouges. As things settled a harsh statement was broadcast:- “We are not hear to negotiate, we are entering the capital through force of arms.
    The Charade was over
    Existing government officials of the old regime in Phnom Penh considered they would be required by the Khmers Rouges, so much so they declined to leave. After all, these were fellow Cambodians, not a real enemy, patriots first, our friends not really communists!

    Lon Non government intelligence one of the best informed men in the country considered it appropriate to stay on. The Prime Minister Long Boret declined to leave likewise his predecessor Hung Thun Hak who had known Pol Pot in his student days, when he was called Saloth Sar, they had no idea of what was to come. A carnival attitude was held by the Capital, then the main force arrived:-
    These soldiers were covered in filthy grime, all wearing black pyjama uniforms with coloured headbands or peaked caps of the Mao type.
    These were from the dirt poor villages, illiterate, destitute peasants, never educated, unaware of mechanical devices of any kind, they had never seen money, up to becoming part of Pol Pot’s army they had never seen a bicycle, let alone a car. The Khmers Rouges had built their strongholds around and from these people, they were to become ‘The Primal Gene-Pool
    From which the revolution would be formed. The poorest of the poor the e town dwellers would see how primitive this conquering force was. They thought toilets were city peoples wells and drank from them, they could not understand eating or drinking from a bottle or a can. They drank cans of oil ate toothpaste. Many were no more than twelve or thirteen years of age, only a little taller than the AK47’s they toted. They took cars and motorcycles, having no idea how to drive them, they crashed into buildings,
    walls, trees, and then looked for another. They cut of the tyres to make sandals from the rubber treads. They had a fascination for biro’s with click tops, they had four or five wristwatches on each arm, although they had no idea how to tell the time. They smashed up televisions, and furnishings. They had been conditioned by the elite of Pol Pot to hate the city dwellers, they held their bourgeois life style in contempt. Women and children were raped, murdered, men too. They had a learned hatred for anything occidental, especially American. In Battambang they tore apart two T28 bombers with their bare hands.
    A Phnom Penh Doctor would later write:- “There was something excessive about their anger, something has happened to these people during their years in the jungle. They have been transformed”

    The next phase began:-
    Soldiers went from house to house telling the dwellers they must leave for a few days on the pretext that American bombers were coming to bomb Phnom Penh. Obviously being told to evacuate, thinking they would be returning after the ‘air raid’ meant they would not be too serious about removing too many possessions from their homes. Considering a population of some two and a half million in Phnom Penh some one million nine hundred thousand were from slum areas, their possessions were virtually zilch. The authentic city dwellers some six hundred thousand did not wish to leave behind everything they held dear.

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    The evacuation was a mess.
    At the same time the troops from four different zones of the Khmers Rouges met up in Phnom Penh all giving contradictory orders and receiving them. Buildings and homes were being looted, more raping ,pillaging and murdering. The doors of the Russian Embassy were blown away with a B-40 rocket. Diplomats were driven out at gunpoint. People were fleeing in terror, within minutes, a seething mass of refugees urged by bullets from child soldiers firing in all directions.

    April is the hottest month in Cambodia.
    One of these refugees would later write:-
    Sick people were left dying by their own families at the roadside. Others were simply killed by soldiers because they could walk no further. Children who had lost their parents cried and screamed out in fear, parents who had lost their children in this mad exodus were crying and pleading for help. Women gave birth on the roads, in the fields, besides the dead.


    Patients in hospitals were evicted Thousand of sick and wounded were abandoned in the city. The strong pulled or dragged themselves along, families pushes relations in beds, plasma and IV bottles besides them. One cripple with neither hands or feet was slithering along the road like a severed worm. One man, his foot dangling at the end of a leg attached by nothing but skin hopped along the road.

    When Phnom Penh fell there were some 20,ooo patients evicted from hospitals. They had no chance at all.


    Altogether some 20,000 people lost their lives during the evacuation of Phnom Penh. An alarming figure indeed, but as a comparison it is noted that some 100,000 people died in revenge killings, murders and balancing up grievances in France purely during the German retreat of 1945!

    In Phnom Penh the different army groups of Pol Pot’s forces being totally unaware of who was who, clashed and killed one another quite randomly in the streets of the city, it took a few days for the levels of insanity to settle down. The National Bank was blown up with dynamite, this was not an act allocated to Pol Pot’s forces, the Khmer Rouge leaders had every intention of establishing a monetary system of it’s own. In the markets the stall holders were instructed to cut the costs of their goods by as much as 100% to the delight of the population but obvious despair of the mainly Chinese
    stallholders. NCOs’ from the original government army were supposedly taken to Siem Reap for new government training and were loaded onto trucks in their hundreds, twenty miles outside of Phnom Penh they were instructed to get off the trucks. Their arms were bound and they were badly abused before being bludgeoned to death.


    Prince Sihanouk who had fled to Beijing prior to the invasion of the capital was due to return having agreed to accept The Khmer Rouge as the new government. Several highly ranked officers from his army were told to report wearing full dress uniform to welcome him back at the airport. Several prominent wealthy businessmen were instructed to join them. The convoy of vehicles was stopped near to Mount Thippadey, they were all killed by K.R. executioners waiting in ditches by the roadside. Similar massacres occurred throughout the North West, in general any official of any town was certain to be killed, his family were not spared the brutality of rape, torture, humiliation, and eventual death. Orders had been given to not waste bullets on these wretched souls, they were beaten to death with farming implements, rifle butts, rocks, kicking, the lucky, if there is such a word for these victims, may have had their throats cut. Children were swung by their ankles into trees, smashing their heads.


    I have actually seen some of the mass graves in the killing fields, the thousands of skulls which are on show as a constant reminder to the world of what this regime committed against it’s own people.. Even now, as you walk through these fields (I was last there in February-March 2007) it is possible to see many human bones amongst the dirt and foliage..


    {I will enter a selection of photographs }




    It is difficult to believe that man can do this to fellow human beings, for no reason what-so-ever, especially,




    I saw thousands of the photographs taken and still on show at Tuol Sleng {once a high school} used as the main prison and now a Genocide Museum.

    It is absolutely crazy to know this lot really happened just a few years since.





    Horrendous.

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    Some left Phnom Penh in cars, with consumer goods loaded inside and on the roofs, how they intended using fridges, TV’s and electric fans in the jungle is anybody’s guess. When orders were given for private cars and trucks to be abandoned the contents ended up being strewn all over the roadside. A grand piano was sighted some three years later, marooned in the middle of a rice field, lacquer peeling! For many it became too much a witness later wrote:-
    A shiny new Peugeot was being driven down the river bank, it went into the water with a splash and floated forward, until the river current turned it round taking it slowly downstream. There were people inside. A man in the drivers seat, a woman besides him and children looking out of the back their hands pressed against the windows. All the doors and windows remained shut, nobody got out.
    We all stared as the car settled lower and lower and the waters went over the roof. A wealthy family committing suicide.

    Approximately one thousand Cambodians living in France at the time of this ‘revolution’ exiles from the Sihanouk government, considered they should return to Cambodia and offer their personal worth for the new order.
    The Khmer Rouge issued a statement via their Foreign Minister Leng Sary, and via his official at the Parisian Cambodian Embassy, that all interested
    Cambodians with children in Cambodia could return, but they must pledge to work as farmers. The manner of application was carried out by the Khmer Rouge with a strange if not peculiar system. Application forms had to be obtained and completed, these had to be approved by the Foreign Office etc.
    The plane loads of returnees on the only flight schedule available, Paris Beijing to Cambodia (Pochentong Airport)were greeted at the airport by youthful Khmer men and women. The returnees who had had to wait in Beijing for the next available flight were clapping with happiness at returning to their homeland. Once inside they were divested of all money, clothing, presents and luggage in general. Women were raped, abused and some killed along with many of the men. They were split into various groups. Each group would have to live and work together, they were totally forbidden to communicate or inter-react with any Khmers Rouges or Khmers. All of them were treated like aliens. It was suspected by the Khmers Rouges that traitors would be amongst the numbers. By the end of the Khmers Rouges control of the country only two hundred remained alive. The other 80% had been murdered by the Khmers Rouges.

    Pol Pot implemented an eight point programme throughout the land:-
    1. Evacuate all of the people from all of the towns.
    2. Abolish all markets.
    3. Abolish the old currency (To be replaced with the revolution’s currency)
    4. Defrock all Buddhist Monks and put them to work growing rice.
    5. Execute all leaders of Lon Nol regime beginning with the top leaders.
    6. Establish high level co-operatives throughout the country.
    7. Expel the entire Vietnamese minority population.
    8. Dispatch troops to all borders, especially the border with Vietnam.

    I have it on record that Pol Pot loved mankind. It was individual man that he could not stand. He claims to have taken up arms on behalf of the suffering masses, the victims of superior war machines.
    He destroyed those who irked him;
    The educated
    The wealthy
    Foreigners
    Foreigner admirers.
    City dwellers.
    The challengers
    The religious.
    His aim was to return the country to year zero.
    I visited the prison museum in Phnom Penh.
    All prisoners were photographed, they were all tortured and a so called biography of their hitherto existence was recorded. Prisoners were all stripped down to their basic underclothes and shackled to iron bars. All prisoners were woken at 4.30 every morning, they were instructed to drop down their under clothes to the ankles. They then had the opportunity to defecate and or urinate into small buckets. Those who failed to follow orders received between twenty and forty strokes from a whip.


    On blackboards in each cell was the following.

    You must answer all questions.

    Do not try to hide facts, you are prohibited to contest.

    Do not be a fool, for you are a person who has dared to thwart the revolution.

    Answer all questions immediately, do not waste time trying to reflect.

    Do not tell me about your immoralities or the revolution.

    Whilst receiving lashes or electric shocks you must not cry out.

    Do nothing, sit still until told to do something.

    Do not make pretexts about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your traitorous jaw.

    Failure to follow the above rules will earn you many lashes of electric wire.

    If you show any disobedience you will receive either ten lashes or five shocks of electric charge.

    The Tuol Sleng is now a genocide museum. On one day alone May 17th 1978 five hundred and eighty two death warrants were issued.








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    The whole scenario is something so difficult to believe that being there is somewhat alarming. It is indeed a strange experience. I often think of the poor souls who came back from the safety of France having lived in a fully civilised society in the western world and then being stripped, beaten, raped, humiliated, worked and eventually murdered.




    I'll put some more photographs on later this evening or tomorrow.

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    Maybe the thread is better split!

    MtD has split the same into the following;-

    Cambodia Thoughts.... Herewith

    Under Thailand's Travellers Tales

    As follows


    Mai Sot Thoughts

    Mathos' Trip from Chiang Mai to Laos

    Khao Lak Thoughts.

    Flobo preferred it how it was.






    I'm OK with the splits but as I have mentioned I do meander and forget where I am so things can get entered anywhere!

    That's basically why I didn't split it up to start with.

    I'm laid back enough.






    Watch out for Granny Flobo though.





    Joking MtD leave them as they are it's fine.


    I'll rename the Mae Sot Thoughts thread if you want, but it's quite well established really.

    Let me know.

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    A few photographs:


    In the Killing Fields there are numerous places were you can see signs of bones and clothing barely covered by the earth. These items below have obviously been further uncovered and left, to show just what a terrible deed was carried out here.

    Not just with the murders, but the total dis-regard and lack of respect for the dead.






    The signs as shown below are self explanatory.




    I must say we found it difficult ourselves to accept the reality of these actions. Being there is so much different than the news shots or books and newspaper articles you may have read regarding the same. The realisation of such a level of pure evil and not just media hype or a Hollywood movie, hits home with quite an impact.





    It really happened.


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    A monument has been constructed in memory of these attorcities.








    The same contains more skulls.






    It would be impossible to say that anything the Cambodians have done in general to improve the appearance of these fields has been beneficial.

    That would be an impossibility, once you have seen the real signs of the occurences for yourself, nothing can make the place anything different than what it is.







    When will mankind ever learn?






    There is a sign up in one of the buildings stating that all the clothing remnants have been disinfected!





    Personally, I can appreciate that the world must not forget attrocities of this nature, and there have been some this last sixty years alone, which is pure evil on a massive scale.

    I rather think the body parts, skulls and bones that is, should be afforded decent burials or cremation though.




    These were the shackles used to restrain the poor souls.


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    The current population of Cambodia is some 14 Million people

    Male life expectancy at present is 59.3 years

    Female life expectancy at present is 63.4 years.

    A bit of History on Cambodia.


    The 13th and 14th centuries were not at all successful for Cambodia.

    It is largely believed that the country was badly ravaged in wars with Thailand, Siam as it then was which was becoming more powerful during this period of history.

    SIAM had been previously paying homage and respect to Angkor.


    Others believe the induction of Theravada Buddhism, which was extremely contrary to the Cambodian social structure at that time.

    The historical records are rather sketchy at best regarding Cambodia and it is considered the "Dark Ages" of Cambodian history.


    Cambodia was continually ravaged by Vietnamese and Siam invasions, wars and general torment until the 19th century, when new dynasties in these countries fought over control of Cambodia.

    The war, beginning in the 1830's virtually destroyed Cambodia. There are still strong disagreements with Thailand and Cambodia also Vietnam and Cambodia regarding land and border issues.

    King Norodom signed a treaty enabling the French protect the country,thereby creating a more safe environment for the Cambodians by stopping the wars the country was involved in with both Vietnam and Siam.


    The French really ruled Cambodia for almost a hundred years from that time (hence the French connection throughout the country, especially Phnom Penh officially speaking though they were just advisor's.

    Advisor's with the final say on all important topics and matters,

    The French built roadways and improved certain living standards in Phnom Penh for instance, they encouraged improvement in trade and transportation for instance.

    However, they very sadly neglected the education for the Cambodians and the levels of the same are still extremely poor up to this day.

    It is a part of their existence which has never really got off the ground.

    Little wonder when you realise the way the country has been run and controlled in general.


    Hopefully, I will transfer some photographs of the local countryside and areas surrounding Phnom Penh later this evening.


    There are two interesting starters here for the time being.






    I thought both of these represented a calmness and peace, the people and country most certainly need and deserve it.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathos
    However, they very sadly neglected the education for the Cambodians and the levels of the same are still extremely poor up to this day.
    Things are definitely improving though, and there are an increasing number of Cambodians who are getting educated. Not only that, they actually value the education for the knowledge it gives rather than a piece of paper, unlike most Thais.

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    For a first hand account of this terrible genocide read First They Killed My Father. Written by a woman that was on the run for years until escaping to Thailand.

    Could not put it down.

    E. G.

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    [quote=Marmite the Dog;613730Things are definitely improving though, and there are an increasing number of Cambodians who are getting educated. Not only that, they actually value the education for the knowledge it gives rather than a piece of paper, unlike most Thais.[/quote]


    Totally agree with you MtD, it is a pleasure to see people in Cambodia with a desire to do well, propelling themselves forward, taking their own place on the big stage we are all entitled to share, there is no better method than education.





    We noticed too that the majority of younger people in Phnom Penh and that included students as well as shop workers, hotel employees, service vehicle drivers, including the boat controllers had a strong desire to present themselves with a smart appearance. The guy on the right of this photograph has a very strong occidental appearance don't you think?




    Even the streets and basic modes of transportation showed a pride returning to an earlier devastated country.




    I wish them well.

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